Welcome back to “The Whole Picture,” The Mayflower’s blog series where we discuss the many dimensions of wellness, with tips for feeling better, staying active, and living a balanced life. (New to the series? Get started here!) This time, we’re going back to the basics to discuss the many benefits of active living – including a few that may surprise you.

“If exercise were a pill, we’d all be taking it daily.” As wellness advice goes, it’s almost a truism: Over and over again, researchers have documented the key role exercise plays in supporting longer, healthier, and happier lives.

But while there’s no question that fitness is essential, the term “exercise” can be misleading. Many hobbies that may not seem athletic at first blush – such as gardening, fishing, volunteering – are excellent ways of staying fit. At the most basic level, active living starts with moving more and sitting less.

“When people ask me how much they need to exercise, my advice is simple: ‘Move most days a week.’ Whether you’re walking your dog or going to the gym, the benefits are the same – and if you can do both, that’s even better,” Sarah says. “What matters is building your life around activities that are active and fun.”

No matter how you choose to stay active, adding a little extra fitness to your day can offer a range of surprising benefits:

  • Sharper Mind. Have you ever gone for a walk to clear your head? Or paced while pondering a tough problem? According to the CDC, even a little bit of exercise offers a quick, short-term boost in focus and concentration. Over the long haul, it also stimulates your brain’s neural pathways to keep your mind and memory sharp throughout life.
  • Better Mood. When you move more, your brain produces so-called “happy hormones” such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin that brighten your mood and reduce stress. That can add up over the long term, resulting in more confidence, optimism, and better emotional balance.
  • Brighter Skin. That “healthy glow” you feel after exercising isn’t your imagination. Getting your heart pumping improves blood flow to the small capillaries in your skin, supplying those cells with oxygen and nutrients for a brighter, healthier look.
  • Increased Energy. Feeling groggy or worn out? Unlikely as it might seem, moving more can help. Try getting around 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity a day. You may notice you have more energy, sleep more soundly, and feel better rested in the morning.
  • Improved Resilience. Sticking with healthy habits over the long haul also offers long-term benefits. Regularly active adults have a lower risk for major health conditions – ranging from heart disease to certain types of cancer – and they also enjoy better immunity and faster recovery throughout life.

Here at The Mayflower, we’re committed to the well-being of our residents in body, mind, and spirit – at all stages of their lives. Nowhere is that philosophy more apparent than at our brand-new, freestanding Health Center, which will house Allerton Cove (Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation) and Stafford Shores (Memory Support). This state-of-the-art facility, which will open soon and is located in our upcoming Bristol Landing neighborhood, will offer top-quality care in a welcoming, homelike environment. Stay tuned for more news about this impressive new addition to The Mayflower campus.

There’s no better time to take your first step toward a happier, healthier you – and to learn how The Mayflower can help you along the way, send us a message or give us a call at 407.672.1620. We look forward to hearing from you!